You are here:Home>Artist Biographies>Atilla Engin Biography

Atilla Engin Biography

Atilla Engin is a Turkish-American Jazz/fusion drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, conductor and educator.

He played and recorded some years in Istanbul before he left for Copenhagen in 1974. He formed three major groups. MATAO was one of them which he released his first album Turkish Delight with. They also performed at Roskilde Festival in 1979.The other one he formed was Atilla Engin Group which has released five albums.

He taught at the Copenhagen Jazz Conservatory for four years, from 1986-1989. Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Ed Thigpen, Bob Rockwell, Horace Parlan, Kenny Drew, Debbie Cameron, Butch Lacy, Alex Riel were among others.

He participated in an international drums and percussion festival, Tal Vadhya Utsav, in India which 125 international artists performed in three cities, Bombay, New Delhi and Bengalore in 1985. Among other artists were Okay Temiz, Burhan Öçal from Turkey, Babatunde Olatunji from Nijeria, Peter Giger's Family Of Percussion from Switzerland, Trilok Gurtu and Zakir Hussain from India to name few.

He established the World to World Drums And Percussion Festival in Denmark Copenhagen in 1986. Some of the world leading percussionists and the drummers alike joined this festival. Zakir Hussain, Nana Vasconcelos, Airto Moreira, Ed Thigpen, Peter Giger, Danny Gottlieb, Adam Nussbaum and Burhan Öçal were among others. Festival lasted three consecutive years until Atilla left Denmark in 1989 for New York to pursue his dreams for a big orchestra.

He had his US premierè at The Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall) in 1993 with his first group he formed called New World Orchestra. His second group was Turquoise, a six-piece group which he released his first album with: Mosaic of Anatolia. While Atilla with his group Turquoise was playing in jazz clubs, he also made a joint Turkish Earthquake Relief Concert at the Florence Gould Hall in New York City in 1999 with Badal Roy, Ara Dinkjian, Al Di Meola and Arto Tunçboyaciyan. In the same year, he formed a big band together called The Istanbul Orchestra, a fourteen-piece group which Atilla conducted, performed with, wrote and arranged its original music. His big orchestra had many performances, among them a show at Symphony Space (Peter Jay Sharp Theatre) with Arif Sag, a saz virtuoso from Turkey. Atilla was also featured guest artist at a show with Turkish singer and composer Zulfu Livaneli and Greek singer Maria Farantouri. Al Di Meola among other guest artists.

The Istanbul Orchestra were able to record two tracks before 9/11 attack hit New York City. These two tracks later in 2009 released in a CD project (Ocean of Emotion.) After the attack, The Istanbul Orchestra could not survive. Atilla left the US for Brazil in 2005.


Istanbul 1966-74

1 - Felek Usta, 1971 Evren Records Turkey (Music, arrangement, vocals: Atilla Engin, Lyrics: Ömer Hayyam)
2 - Kumsalda, 1974 Yonca Records Turkey (Vocals: Özdemir Erdogan (Lyrics, music, arrangement, drums, piano: Atilla Engin)
3 - Bütün Içkiler Benden Bu Gece, 1974 Yonca Records Vocals: Alpay (Lyrics, music, arrangement: Atilla Engin)

Iskandinavia - Copenhagen

4 - Turkish Delight, Group Matao, 1979 RA Records Denmark
5 - Atatürk’s Children and Nasrettin Hoca, 1980 Fairytale Denmark
6 - Solens Børn, with Ariel, 1980 Pick Up Records Denmark 
7 - Nazar, Atilla Engin Group, 1982 Danish Music Productions
8 - Memories, Atilla Engin Group (with Okay Temiz), 1984 Danish Music Productions
9 - Marmaris Love, Atilla Engin Group (with Okay Temiz), 1986 Danish Music Productions
10- No Money No Honey, Atilla Engin Group (with Arto Tunçboyaciyan), 1987 Danish Music Productions
11- My Little Chinese Love, Tyrkis Big Band conducted by Atilla Engin, 1987 Stunt Records Denmark
12- Melo Perquana, Atilla Engin Group (with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen), 1988 Olufsen Records Denmark

New York

13- Mosaic of Anatolia, Group Turquoise, 1999 Istanbul Records New York
14- Ocean of Emotion, The Istanbul Orchestra - Group Turquoise - Atilla Engin, 2009 Indie CdBaby

15- LES Djinns by Duma Soundsystem, composer Atilla Engin Released by Get Physical Music 2006 Katalog# 49

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Atilla Engin
Login to post comments